I keep thinking about the notion that my higher power wants me to be happy, joyous, and free. Due to the trauma in my background, it’s a heck of a lot easier to think God wants me to be sad, miserable, and suffering. That’s what happens with trauma – it rewires your brain and changes your perspective as a form of protection. It also certainly doesn’t help that I live in a Christian-dominant society, meaning, the idea I’ll be sent to hell for doing something wrong, is prevalent. And the thing about culture is we can’t escape it – it’s the air we breathe.
All of this is to say it’s easier for me to believe terrible things will happen in my life, to brace myself for the worst possible outcome. But is that really true? Isn’t it just as likely the best possible outcome could occur? And haven’t I seen evidence over and over again that things work out? Maybe not right away, but eventually? And if I’m wrong and things are actually terrible, which perspective makes me feel better: the optimistic one or the pessimistic one?
This isn’t a post about the benefit of optimism but rather joy itself. My spiritual philosophy emphasizes this over and over again, how we are all running after happiness. Not only human beings, but all beings. For instance, cats constantly seek warm, comfortable spots so they can curl up and sleep. We are all seeking joy.
The ancient Hindu scriptures, the Vedas, say, “This quinquelemental world has been born out of joy, is being maintained in joy, and into sacred joy will melt.” Wow. Let that statement sink in: The world was born out of joy, is being maintained in joy, and into sacred joy will melt. Instead of being a cold, cruel place, the world can be a beautiful, joyful one.
While typing this, a moth landed on my window and watching it I started thinking about the saying, “like moths to a flame.” It reminded me there’s a natural attraction in this world, that we are all drawn to something whether we’re conscious of it or not. That we’re pulled toward joy and maybe it doesn’t have to feel so difficult. Dancing brings joy. Singing brings joy. Looking at pictures of cute kids and baby animals brings joy. But so do things like serving others and meditating.
I’d like to end with a poem by Hafiz because I think it’s appropriate. It’s called “Tripping Over Joy”:
What is the difference
Between your experience of Existence
And that of a saint?
The saint knows
That the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game with God
And that the Beloved
Has just made such a Fantastic Move
That the saint is now continually
Tripping over Joy
And bursting out in Laughter
And saying, “I Surrender!”
Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
You have a thousand serious moves.
I dream of a world where we are happy, joyous, and free. A world where we realize we are born out of joy and unto joy we shall return. A world where we remember there’s a force in the world that’s drawing us to it like a moth to a flame. A world where we realize that force is love and the process can be a joyful one.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.